The Bristol Britannia

The Britannia resulted from a requirement issued by the Ministry of Supply on the behalf of the British Overseas Airways Corporation, for a Medium-Range Empire airliner. The original Bristol proposal was to re-engine the Lockheed Constellation with Bristol Centaurus radials, but Treasury refused the expenditure of US dollars. Five firms proposed designs, but only the Bristol Type 175 came anywhere close to specifications. Consultations in October 1947 resulted in a design that featured a payload of 48 passengers and a speed of 310 mph on the power of four Centaurus radials. Other engines were discussed, but Bristol could not guarantee performance since the engines had not yet been tested. After financial wranglings the Ministry ordered three prototypes. They were all to be fitted with Centaurus radials, although the last two were to be convertible to Proteus turboprops, and the third to be fitted out to full airline standards.

However, the project was delayed because BOAC decided that the Proteus powered version merited more attention, and in fact ordered 25 in July 1949, to be delivered with Centaurus radials but to be later converted to Proteus turboprops. These would be used for African and Far Eastern routes. The delay had allowed Bristol time for reflection also, and they decided that the design could be expanded to allow for trans-Atlantic range and a payload of 83 passengers. The success of the Proteus 3 in 1950 finally eliminated the Centaurus from contention, and the design was finalized with a capacity of 90 passengers, powered by the Proteus. The first prototype flew on August 16, 1952, and it was expected to enter service shortly. However, a harrowing number of teething problems, mostly engine icing problems, delayed the entry into service by BOAC until February 1, 1957!

These became the Series 100, purchased only by BOAC. Bristol then proposed the Series 200 freighter, but none were sold. The Royal Air Force did purchase 23 Series 250 Britannias, in a mixed cargo/freight configuration. The most popular model was the Series 300, of which 45 were built. The Series 300 was over 10 feet longer than the Series 100, and had all up weights of 155,000 lbs. The Series 310 increased this further by adding outer wing tankage, allowed by more powerful engines. The Britannias proved highly successful in service, with good reliability and popularity. Bristol nicknamed them the Whispering Giant, and the monicker fit the plane well. However, the lengthy delays caused the plane to be delivered late, and the availability of faster long-range jet airliners kept sales relatively small. Virtually all Britannias have been retired but many lasted well into the 1980's, a favorite with European charter operators.

Click on the image to download the plane.

FS2004 BOAC Bristol Britannia.  Jens Kristensen has created this great Britannia and painted it into the classic and formal livery of British Overseas Airways Corporation, BOAC. BOAC used these in trans-Atlantic service (and flights to San Francisco) until the pure jets arrived in force, and then used them on secondary/shorter routes. FSX Version. Thanks! Last updated on 4/7/09. Tony Madge version. Requires the Mike Stone MDL file from this 1980's Cubana package or get the original file from Simviation. Last updated on 11/4/08.

Return to Calfornia Classic